Wednesday, November 30, 2011

bug is getting better {almost wordless}

She requested a shirt with flowers this morning.


And then when it was time to fix hair, she pulled a flower from the drawer.



The sparkle shoes.  Always the sparkle shoes.



Lilybug is doing so much better this week.  After 10 days (as all my friends told me) she finally turned a corner.  She's back to eating and doesn't need any pain medication.  Her nose is still pouring snot (I had to pull over to wipe two huge rivers of snot this morning after she sneezed in the van) which is probably due to her adenoids healing.  (and yes she fell the other day and got a fat, bloody lip which is now healing)

But it is so good to see our Bug back to herself.  Back in preschool.


This weekend would be the next normal visit of the fever monster.  I am a little nervous.  But I am believing there will be no fever.  I am claiming her healing in Jesus name.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

personality

We took photos this afternoon with the church staff I serve with for our church Christmas card.  My friend, who was the photographer, snapped a few photos of the kids and this is one she got.


Can't you just feel the personality oozing from this photograph?  Miss Rose is owning it, Gracie is working it and Lily knows how cute she is.  I did help Miss Rose up onto her perch and Lily isn't quite sure about the stump she's on...but everything else is their's.  

These girls of mine.

What in the world am I going to do five and ten years down the road?  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving in their words

Our kids always save the worst for us.

They get wonderful reviews from babysitters, family members and school.  Well behaved, sweet, helpful, cooperative.  All the things we are trying to instill in them.

But sometimes it feels like we rarely see that from them.  We get the meltdowns and attitudes.  The tired and the whiney.  Which makes us wonder how good of a job we are doing at raising our children.

Every once in a while though, we get a glimpse of the inner workings of their minds and hearts.  

And we think, maybe we are doing it right after all.

Lily brought home a Thanksgiving placemat (complete with the turkey handprint--updated though with the fingers/feathers being rainbow colors) and on the back her teacher had written what she was thankful for. I'm sure this was a prompt and Lily had help with her list.

Lily was thankful for: mommy and daddy, my sisters, and cheese.

Yes, cheese.  My 2 year old loves her some cheese.  Of the string or sharp cheddar variety.  And thanks to Costco and Bean, we are Tillamook Sharp Cheddar snobs.  My kids won't even eat other brands and definitely not medium cheddar cheese.  I didn't used to like cheese all that much.  Until Bean and I were together and he introduced me to sharp cheddar.  I found out what I had been missing.

Bean would say this is absolutely a sign that we are raising our children right.

On a deeper level though...

Miss Rose brought home a Thanksgiving letter she wrote to us.  I know that her class is currently working on letter-writing and this was an opportunity to practice those skills.

Here's the first few lines of the letter:

Dear Family, I am writing to thank you for all you did in my life time.  Thank you for introducing me to God and leting him come into my life. (spelling hers)

And there you have it.

My daughter goes to a public school (which she thanks us later in the letter for paying for her to attend...I suppose we do pay in the form of taxes).  And the first thing she thought of to thank us for was raising her to love God.  It was not coerced or suggested.  That was her legitimate first thought.

We must be doing something right.  She watches TV and listens to some songs on the radio.  We don't shelter her and we don't even do devotions with her every day.  But we do pray.  And listen to worship.  And talk about God.

And she goes to church every Sunday.  And most Wednesdays.  Yes, I'm a pastor--so this is kind of a given.  But even if I weren't a pastor, this would be our routine.  The community of faith is so important to me.  It was crucial and incredibly influential in my life and I trust it will be the same for my children. Bean and I are primarily responsible for raising our children and for investing in their spiritual lives.  I would never leave that to Sunday School alone.  However, being a church-going family shows our children how important God is to us and the reinforcement of principles and scripture and Bible stories have great value.

If you are a nursery worker, Sunday School teacher, or children's volunteer...thank you.  For investing in my children.

Miss Rose also thanked us for tucking her in at night, for some of her belongings (bike, scooter) that she really likes and for grilled cheese on the bread she likes (sourdough!)  

Things in our home aren't always perfect.  We lose our tempers sometimes.  We yell sometimes. We can be inconsistent.  But we are real.  We apologize to our children when necessary.  We confess we don't have it figured out.  We tell them how much we love them and how serious we take our role as their parents and that God has entrusted us with them.

Earlier this week we had a knock-down drag out with Miss Rose when we wouldn't allow something she really wanted.  I tried to explain to her that I had to trust what God put in my heart when it comes to important decisions for my children.  It didn't make much of a difference to her.  But she's listening.  It may not have changed her feelings in that moment, but I know it matters.

Thank you God, for these glimpses.  I may take a photo of her letter and save it on my phone for future reference when I'm at my wit's end.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving thoughts

Of course I contemplated a well-composed thanksgiving post of all the things I am thankful for.  And I do have many, many things I am thankful for.  That are well-deserving of recognition.

But I just couldn't muster it up for some reason.  Time was one factor of course.

My sentiments on thanksgiving are different from any other year in my life.

Because of this.


Thanksgiving is so much more, and also so much less.  I don't just see thanksgiving as recognizing the wonderful people and gifts in my life.

Giving thanks is about the little things.  It's noticing the vibrancy of a flower, when my stress level is sky high.
(actual photo I took earlier this year when I was feeling stressed)

Smiling even though a tiny hand has marked my book.

Thanksgiving is about the challenges, the tests and trials.  That is when true gratitude is discovered.  Joy comes when I am thankful for the difficulty and pain.  When money is tight, and time is short.  

I have spent a lot of time this year caring for a sick toddler.  

Each month, life came to a screeching halt for a few days as Lily's fevers raged.



We learned to be thankful that her fevers often came at the end of the week, during my days off work.  
We are so grateful that her fevers didn't come from a serious or life-threatening illness.  Still they have defined our months, our 2011.  We have spent so much money on Tylenol, Motrin, doctors appointments and hospital stays.  

I have spent a night crammed in a hospital fold out bed with her, because she wouldn't sleep in the crib.


And we recently spent another night in the hospital, this time hopefully as a solution to the fevers.  This time, I did get her to sleep in the crib.



The past week has been challenging.


The recovery period is no joke.  It's difficult to convince a toddler that even though it may not feel great to eat or drink--she will feel so much better in the end with nutrition in her belly.  My baby has lost a little of her soft chub and her belly.  I'm sure it will come back quickly, but her body does not feel the same right now.


Every day is a little better.  There are moments I want to pull my hair out because Lily is crying about being hungry, but won't eat anything that her throat will tolerate.  We've lost a lot of sleep.  But this should be the end of this season.

Thanksgiving is not warm and fuzzy for me this year.

But it is so much better, so much richer.

I read this earlier in the week.


To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice your understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent.
A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways – always.
A sacrifice is by definition not an easy thing.
There is this: We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is.



This expresses it so well.  I have to sacrifice what I think is beneficial--what I think is good, what I think would be good for me.  Because God is the only thing that is truly good.  And every good and perfect gift comes from him.

Black Friday is all the craze right now.  And my flesh wants to give in to the consumer mentality and find a way to buy my children all the things they have their eyes on and other things I know they need or would really enjoy.  I want to spoil nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters.

But this year's Christmas budget isn't going to allow for that.  So I will be thankful for the good I can find in this.  That I will find ways to make this holiday special.  That I will carefully choose each gift I buy.  That I will use Pinterest to create one of a kind gifts.

There is good in that.  That can be a perfect gift from above.


My crazy life.  My crazy kids.  My rad husband.

For these I am thankful.

Tonight I climbed into bed next to Lily, who once again is having trouble sleeping.  A cold with a cough is not fun to get from your sister when your throat is already a raw mess.

She cuddled up next to me, wrapped her arms around my neck and said "I love you all the heart" which means "I love you with all of my heart."

Could there be any more perfect end to the day?  I think not.

Friends, He is good.  So good.





Sunday, November 20, 2011

goodbye fever monster {part 2}

We left off with sweet Lily in the OR.  The surgeon walked me back to Bean in the pre-op room (the anesthesiologist was doing her work in the OR) and then we headed to the waiting room.


This is the building the surgery took place in and where we stayed that night.  Our children's hospital separated the surgery-related and non-contagious situations from the respiratory and other more communicable illnesses.  What a great idea, huh?

Bean and I settled in a nice big waiting area with our pager that would go off when we could see Lily in recovery.  Another great set-up at this hospital.  Instead of calling out names, each family gets a pager which reaches outside even, and each time they need you or are ready for the next step in the process your pager goes off.

We knew the surgery would be about 45 minutes, at which point we'd hear from our doctor and then about 45 minutes later we'd get to join Lily in recovery.  Bean and I did some texting and social networking to keep people in the loop and I settled in with a magazine.

The time passed so quickly!  We were called back and our doctor said the surgery went really well.  Lily's tonsils were "moderately sized" and so were her adenoids, so she went ahead and removed those too (something we had discussed as an option).

I was probably most anxious the next 45 minutes, knowing my baby girl was out of surgery and coming out of anesthesia soon.  I knew that some kids have a really hard time coming out  and i just wanted to be with her!  We had a false page when a nurse had the wrong pager number written down, just 15-20 minutes after we met with the surgeon.  I knew it was too fast to be true!

Finally our pager went off again and we hustled off to post-op to see our girl.  As we walked through the large post-op unit, past multiple beds and curtains I heard kids crying from different parts of the room.  I listened closely, but didn't hear Lily's voice.  And then, there she was.  Her little body in the big bed, sitting up with a sippy cup of juice.

But then a mean nurse said only one of us could stay with her :(  So Bean came and gave her a kiss and I stayed.  I was so proud of my girl.  She wasn't crying or upset at all.  She was very happy to see us though and wanted me to stay close. At one point she asked for me to hold her.  Actually she said "mama hold you." I love that she still talks that way.

The nurse had just given her demerol so she was dozing (with her eyes open, ODD) off and on but pretty quickly we were ready to go up to her room and we picked up Bean on our way.  Once we got in our room, I sat in the big chair and held Lily.  It was so good to hold her and have her cuddle close.  She really had done so incredibly well.  My little trooper.


Mama is so happy to have sweet Lilybug in her arms again! And if you can tell, Bug is happy to have the Wubbie back too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

day 3 embracing my baby

I am holding Lily right now as she sleeps restlessly, snoring and struggling to breathe clearly.

A few of my friends who have been through these surgeries warned me that it gets worse before it gets better.

Today seems to be the worse. Lily woke up today with a lot of snot and congestion. This is normal for having adenoids removed. The extra mucous combined with her sore throat has not been a good combo.

She has hardly eaten or drunken anything today. Swallowing is a crucial part of healing so it's frustrating that I can't get her to take much in.

Then there was the incident where drinking+mucous= vomit. That was fun.

And the breath, oh the terrible awful breath. Again, part of healing but as I sit her holding her, which is the only way she will sleep right now, I cannot get away from it.

My sweet Lily girl. I know this is part of it. I know it's all for the greater good. And honestly even this is better than the 104-105 degree fevers. But it's hard.

My sister in law showed up out of the blue to have the big girls come play for a bit. And they were there yesterday too. Lifesaver. I was feeling pretty guilty for not being able to do much for or with them.

I know it will get better. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day.

Still I am thankful for the surgeries. Thankful things may be semi back to normal for Thanksgiving. Thankful for family who help and visit and check in with us. Thankful for a husband who is supportive of me doing nothing but take care of our littlest girl.

Embracing. Embracing my baby girl. Thats my job today.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 17, 2011

goodbye fever monster [the day my baby had surgery, part 1]

The day we've been waiting months for, finally happened.

Lily had her tonsils removed, and in the bonus round: her adenoids too.

When Lily was first diagnosed with Periodic Fever Syndrome this summer, I immediately knew I needed to advocate for a tonsillectomy.  Bean had frequent fevers and illnesses until his tonsils were removed at age 5.  My nephew who is 1 year older than Lily had a very similar story with monthly fevers and throat infections and after his tonsils were removed right after he turned 3, his fevers miraculously disappeared.

They don't really know the link between the fevers and the tonsils, but it's documented.  Lily is actually in a research study and our surgeon informed me this morning that the doctor doing the study received Lily's tonsils and blood for testing and research.

There is no promise or guarantee this is the solution, but we are praying, hoping and believing that it is!

It was a whirlwind 5 days or so, prior to the surgery.  We got the surgery date just 3 weeks out, so there wasn't much changing what was already on the calendar.  Thursday and Friday I taught a School of Ministry Class all day while Bean hung with the kids.  I love teaching the class, but it is pretty exhausting to teach all day!  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was gone from home more than 10 hours due to some extra church events and meetings.  I had to cram so much into each day to meet some deadlines since I knew I'd be unable to deal with anything external for at least two days.

Tuesday night found me in frantic preparations.  My mom was coming over at 6am Wednesday morning (the benefits of a mom who is a early riser and who lives next door!) to be with Miss Rose & Gracie and get them off to school.  I needed to have snacks, backpacks and school paraphernalia all laid out for them.

Then I needed to have a few bags packed for Bean and I to spend most of Wednesday at the hospital, and Lily and I to stay the night.  I learned from our last hospitalization that I need very little.  All my time and energy is devoted to Lily.  But I knew we'd need some snacks and I'm a serious water-addict so I needed sufficient water too.

5am came really early on Wednesday morning.  That's even earlier than I usually get up to run.  But I knew I'd appreciate having clean hair and a fresh shower going into 24+ hours of hospital life.  The morning went smoothly and we got Lily up right before 6.  She was a bit disoriented at first, but that helped with her not asking to eat or drink, which she wasn't allowed.

We were so impressed with our Children's Hospital.  We've obviously been there before and it was a great experience (for having to be in a children's hospital) but the surgery experience is completely different and actually in a different building then we were in before.  The whole process of check in and pre-op is so smooth and well run and they kept us moving, which was good for Lily too.  I found it interesting that there were no beds in any of the pre-op rooms.  I guess kids usually want to sit with their parents anyways and maybe the beds freak them out.



Lily-bug was all Lady-bugged out!  Footsie princess jammies by request.  With socks over them, because Gracie was wearing socks to bed.  The ladybug mini pillow pet was a gift from Auntie Rachel the last time she was in the hospital.  Lily isn't too attached to it at home, but it's a great thing to bring to the hospital as a reminder of home.  A month ago or so, a neighbor was having a yard sale and these matching slippers were there! Lily was in love.



In the first pre-op room Lily got her spiffy hospital duds.  She was pretty stocked on the "tiger pants".

The nurse showed Lily how the remote also had a speaker in it for the TV and Lily proceeded to watch TV like this during our entire time there.  She was pretty adamant most of the time about having the speaker right at her ear like this.

Proud mom moment: before she got changed, the nurse asked me "is she wearing pull-ups or panties?" I said "um, nothing?"

Yes, I took my daughter to the hospital commando.  And I'm proud of it.  She still wears a pull-up at night, and since she was wearing footsie jammies, it was just easier to take the pull-up off when she peed and then zip her back up---instead of taking the jammies all the way off to put on panties.  And I wasn't about to waste one of my pull-ups when they have perfectly good diapers  at the hospital and I knew she'd be in them for about 24 hours.

The nurse said, "well, ok, would you like a diaper for her?"

And also in my defense, I wasn't sure if she was going to end up catheterized and I figured they would tell me what they wanted for her bottom, so we were just ready regardless!

Bean loved that moment.


Pre-op room 2.  Right before surgery.  Bean was excited to take this picture since he's gotten to wear the "marshmallow suit" three times for my c-sections, but this was my first time at the rodeo.

Each anesthesiologist determines if a parent can go back to the operating room.  It seems this is a way to weed out parents that may be a little uptight or over-anxious and not handle the situation so well.  Thankfully we developed good report with our anesthesiologist and she agreed to let me go back with Lily, commenting "it does seem like she's pretty attached to you."  Yes, yes she is!

As soon as we entered the operating room, Lily started crying.  It was clear to her that this wasn't a fun room with brightly painted pictures and a TV.  They had me sit her on the operating table and I got to hold the mask with the gas until she pretty much passed out.  They do such a good job with kids--painting lipgloss in the mask and then "painting" Lily's nails while she breathed the gas.  It was odd to see her face get flushed and her eyes glaze and then even though her eyes didn't fully close--she was out.  They laid her down and then walked me back to Bean.

Leading up to those moments, I was feeling nervous, anxious and emotional.  Bean was trying to ask me questions about later in the day and I told him I couldn't focus on that--let's just get through this.  But pretty true to form for me, once I'm in the midst of a circumstance, my strength comes and I don't allow myself to break down.  I knew logically that she was in good hands and this was a fairly quick, standard procedure that many had been through before and she'd do fine too.

To be continued....






Friday, November 11, 2011

brain dump

'
This is a really busy season.  And by season I mean a few weeks or months.  Heck, it's just a busy life.

But it feels especially full right now.  Deadlines, projects, looming dates.

I've been doing a lot of writing lately, which I love, but also takes a lot of energy.  I've written youth curriculum, devotions on Acts and some short dramatic scripts.  I've also written an outline for an Old Testament Survey Course.  I have writing and editing yet to do next week.

I'm teaching the Old Testament course this weekend, today and tomorrow in fact.  I basically talked for 6 hours today and will probably for 4-5 hours tomorrow.  The Old Testament is so rich and deep and has so many layers it's not a big "discussion" topic, although the students always find it fascinating.  But it means I talk, a lot.  And I could talk forever about the Old Testament.  I love it.  But talking for that long is exhausting.

Teaching today and tomorrow means Bean is on full-time daddy duty!  He's a good man.

Tidbits he shared with me about their day...

The first order was taking Lily for bloodwork (I was still home so the other girls were with me) where the technician couldn't find a vein in one arm and had to switch arms.  For the countless times she's had bloodwork, that has NEVER happened.)  Super fun I'm sure.

Lily may or may not have colored on a table at a "car place" which shall remain nameless, with a Sharpie, which Miss Rose brought with her.  (my kids are OBSESSED with Sharpies.  Is this normal?  Are all kids?)  Bean may or may not have thrown the Sharpie away immediately, destroying the evidence.

Lily refused to hold his hand at Sea World, insisting " I know how walk."  Which is the complete opposite of what she tells me, as she freezes and won't move "I no know how walk."

Miss Rose may have spilled hot chocolate on her shirt, necessitating a quick trip home to change before they hit Sea World.

His brother and three cousins came over this afternoon, so he didn't get the cleaning done that he intended (but cousin time and brother time is way better!)

He didn't get time for his Diet Coke fix until 6pm tonight.

Lily had a small accident during nap.  Sheets had to be washed.

Just your average day with the kids!  Bean is a very hands on dad, there's no question about that, but I'm around most of the time too and he usually isn't with them for a full day.  And lucky him, gets almost another full day tomorrow.  And it's supposed to rain! Whoo-hoo.  A day cooped up with the kids.  Oh glory.

I have 4 days to get my life organized and everything in order and the to-do list done and the deadlines met.  Because after that, all my energy will go to Lily.  Her tonsillectomy is on Wednesday.  I'm excited for no more fevers, but nervous.  None of my children have gone under general anesthesia.  I guess I'm glad we've already been through a night in Children's Hospital, so that experience isn't completely new.

There's a lot to do in these next 4 days.  I'm hoping I don't have a nervous breakdown or panic attack in the meantime.  Thinking about it is a little overwhelming, but I have to get it all done so nothing is hanging over my head while I hold my sweet girl.

Last weekend my girls got to spend a day with their aunt while Bean and I were at our marriage discipleship group.  You can read about their fun here!   While you are there, browse around my sister's new blog and design--it's so her and so fun!  Many of the blogs I frequent are moms or moms who run, but it's fun to read from my sister's perspective--since she is single and almost 10 years younger than me.

And just for funsies, here's a few recent pictures to close out tonight's brain dump.


Miss Rose had some lines in a short Veteran's Day production the 2nd graders at her school performed. We are blessed to have her at school that sees music as important the PTF raises funds to have a full-time music teacher.  Miss Rose ROCKED her lines--flawless and perfectly presented.  I was so incredibly proud of her, especially since a year or two ago she would have been too self-conscious to do it.  (Notice Bean is participating in No-Shave-November.  Which could turn into Don't Shave December.  I'm cool with it though.  It's the one thing he changes up in life.  That shirt he's wearing?  He's had it since before we were married.  And even then I think he stole it from his brother. )



How awesome is this crew?  Cousins came out to see Miss Rose.  Plus an extra neighbor kid, you know :)  Because when this many are around, what's one more?!


I'm in love with this picture too.  If I were a photoshop genius, I feel like there's a lot of fun stuff that could be done.  A few weeks ago I took the little girls and my nephew to Sea World.  Two polar bears were out sunning themselves.


My best attempt at getting a photo of us all.  We were in a 3-D show at Sea World.  Once it started, the kids lasted less than 5 minutes before we had to make our exit.  Although they wanted to go in, the reality of 3-D, which includes be sprinkled with water and having wind blown on you, was more than they signed up for.

And there you have it.  I've dumped my brain.  Or a very small portion.

Now I will sleep better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

wordless wednesday

My dad started playing the guitar when he was 7 years old, and played for the next 40 years until a stroke left him paralyzed.  My dad taught me to play guitar, something I wish I had kept up with but it wasn't very cool back in the 90's so in junior high I stopped practicing.  I can still play a few mean chords if necessary though.

Music was such an integral part of our home growing up.  My dad would play his guitar and make up silly songs and I'd watch him play in church on Sunday mornings.

Bean has started teaching Miss Rose some guitar basics.

I love this.


Monday, November 7, 2011

science experiments

I try not to make a big deal out of Mondays.  Technically, Sunday is the first day of my workweek.  But Monday is the day that both Bean and I go to work and the girls go to school. 

You'd think, almost three years in to having three children and doing the morning shuffle I'd have it down.  It should be a routine we're all used to and that flows smoothly each week.

I should have it down to a science.

But I don't.

It's more like a science experiment that blows up in my face all the time.

I feel like I do it all the same.  And even mornings when I make even more of an effort (like this morning when I didn't work out or need to shower but still got up early) it doesn't necessarily make a difference.

The 4 year old is very opinionated about her clothes.  The 2 year old decided  to sleep in this morning, which made for a difficult wake-up and quick transition into getting ready for the day.  These two enjoy preschool, yet they protest going every week.  We verbally walk through the week and they always want to know "is tomorrow a mama day."  We are blessed to have someone available to bring them home in the afternoon instead of spending a long day at school, but they complain about that too.  Because they want me to pick them up and then they want me to stay with them.

I know.  Mama IS better.  But they don't realize how good they have it.  That I don't work a traditional 40-hour week.  That they do have two "Mama days" each week.  That they spend one day with a doting grandmother.

Bean and I watched a movie last night.  I should have been laying out clothes and packing what I could of lunches and snacks.  Some mornings there seems to be time, other mornings--like today there isn't.  Just being a working mom is a job in itself.  One I seem to have gotten a warning on today.

So tonight, I'll be doing what I know I should do and not taking the chance that there will be time in the morning. 

We'll do this science experiment again and I'll be a better scientist and learn from my failures and perfect the instructions.

Hoping for a terrific Tuesday, not a terrible one.  Deciding a rough morning doesn't need to define my day. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

just me

I love photos. But not always of myself.
We are our own worst critics, right? We see flaws no one else does.
Flaws we shouldn't see because they aren't really flaws.
They are just the way we are. The way God made us.

Recently we had to take some "headshots" for work. Notice the lovely stucco background!


Here's how a lot of my photos turn out.
Eyes closed.
It's genetic. My mom has the same exact problem.




Whenever I try to do the "looking off into the distance" type of pose, I think I look pretty silly.
Trying to look at the camera with a serious, moody type face is even worse!



Here's probably a typical photo of me. Smiling but it doesn't look so natural.



But finally, the real me showed up.
All it took was laughing at one of my best friends, making faces and saying silly things.
I can still find lots of flaws in me, in the photo.But I'm choosing not to see them.


I'm choosing to see the laughter, the joy and the life.

This is me.

A friend is taking some family photos for us on Sunday. I want to capture our family in these moments. When the kids are still young. Sometimes it's a struggle to embrace each day, but it's so worth it. And I want to capture us embracing life, embracing each other. My kids can be pretty big stinkers when it comes to photos, but this friend has a special gift getting them to cooperate. Wish us luck!

P.S.  Lily is doing MUCH better. She was able to go to preschool today.  I'm seeing even more though how much these fevers mess with her routines and how she deals with life.  Re-entry is tough on her and I'm so glad her surgery is really soon.